December 4, 2011

Roasted butternut squash with baby spinach and pomegranate

Roasted butternut squash with baby spinach and pomegranate on a serving plate.

When pomegranates appear in the grocery store, I am always trying to come up with ways to incorporate them into my cooking. 

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Pomegranate seeds are crunchy and tart and they make a great topping for salads, vegetables, oatmeal, etc. Pomegranates can be messy and a little time consuming to get out all the seeds - and, you don't want to lose the juice and just let it run out all over your cutting board. You want to save it to use in the recipe. Here are some pomegranate tips if you've never tackled one before or if they still give you some trouble. I like to seed it over a bowl and then use a colander to separate the seeds from the juice.

I made this side dish utilizing the bottom half of a giant butternut squash I had saved. This squash came from my father-in-law's garden and it was so big. I fed eight people with the top half at Thanksgiving and still had more than enough! 

I really like to pair sweet winter squash or sweet potatoes with a bitter green. I generally use dried cranberries and or some toasted nuts to add tang and crunch, but this time I went with the pomegranate seeds. 

The result is an easy, healthful, and colorful side dish that is full of complimentary flavors. The colors would make this a lovely dish to serve as a side to a holiday meal, too. The recipe is very forgiving and can be adjusted to feed more people by just eyeballing the amounts of vegetables so that they look to be in a good ratio to one another. 

The recipe below made enough to feed about three people as a hearty side. 

Roasted butternut squash with baby spinach and pomegranate
olive oil
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
about 3 cups of peeled and cubed butternut squash
1 tablespoon real maple syrup
juice and seeds of 1/2 a pomegranate, separated
1 tablespoon butter
about 3 cups baby spinach 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a baking dish and add the butternut squash along with some salt and pepper. Roast for approximately 20 minutes, stirring once, until the squash is fork tender.

In the meantime, combine the maple syrup, pomegranate juice (it will be approximately 1 tablespoon), butter, salt and pepper in a small pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until everything is combined and slightly reduced.

When the squash is done, place it in a large bowl along with the baby spinach and the warmed dressing. Gently toss until everything is combined and the spinach has begun to wilt slightly.

Top with the pomegranate seeds and serve immediately. 

Serving the finished roasted butternut squash.


  1. Oh, wow, this salad looks amazing! You tend to think of "winter foods" being heavy, hearty, and full of savory flavors, but you have created a beautifully bright salad with awesome seasonal ingredients!!

  2. That looks amazing. I have never made anything with pomegranate. I have to give it a shot!

  3. I never thought to use pomegranate in this way before. I love the colors!

  4. the colors of this dish just invite and entice you to take a look and want to try it out, thanks for sharing it with us.

  5. This looks fantastic. I adore pomegranate arils, butternut squash and spinach.. heck everything in this salad! :)

  6. This looks light, flavourful and delightful!

  7. This is such a pretty side dish aside from sounding absolutely delicious! It's very festive. Thanks for linking up!


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